The Duolink SpeakerBuds really caught my eye when I first heard about it. It’s a two in one, Bluetooth speaker and earphone combo, in one handheld device. It’s currently a Kickstarter campaign and they have already reached their goal, within 11 hours I believe, so expect these to be everywhere later in the year. But is it any good? We got an early release of the product to try out.
The Duolink is a small, handheld device, with a rubber bottom and surround, with a mesh top. It has four small rubber feet on the bottom, two buttons (one on each speaker), a USB C port on one, one dedicator light on each of them and a bit of shoe lace which can be attached to either speaker for carrying.
There is an obvious line in the middle of the speaker, which allows you to pull the two halves away from each other (magnetic). Inside each of these two halves are the earphones, which sit within each halve, so there is a flat, flush join between the two. As mentioned before, the two halves are held together via a relativley strong magnet and when together, four small metal prongs touch, allowing for both halves to charge.
The earphones are held in place via a little plastic lip, to stop them from moving or falling out and it does a very good job of it too. In fact, it can be quite fiddly to get each earphone out. The earphones look and feel like any standard earphone but one thing I do like, is the second rubber ring or hook, which helps secure it within your ear.
Within the box is the Speakerbud, a USB C cable, some different size rubber ear buds and some instructions. The Speakerbud will be available in red, white and navy blue (the one we got).
Now when I got emailed about these, there was a big caveat that the review sample was a prototype, a first batch of the product, which is makes sense as there were a few niggles but ill get onto that later.
As for audio performance as either a single or dual speakers, it was good for the size. They are very small speakers, so although they filled a small room, it wont blow your mind. The audio is clear, it’s crisp and loud but it does lack on the bass front. You can either have the one speaker set up, or split them for a stereo set up and oddly enough, the audio does differ slightly between each arrangement and you can hear the change when you separate or put them together. Splitting them up is quite fun and you can put them upto 16feet apart. Having that stereo sound, it adds to the music experience but makes a world of difference when watching a movie or other video content too.
As for performance as earphones, it’s better and the bass is more prominent, with a more balanced audio profile overall. The earphones are comfortable to wear and somewhat secure, although I’ve had more secure in the past.
Initially, I connected to the speaker fine via Bluetooth and was able to listen to music. Separate them, music would continue. If I then remove the earphones, the audio passes from speaker to earphone, which worked fine aswell. As time went on, it was harder to connect to the speaker and the audio would only play through the earphones. A little irritating but again, this is a prototype and will not be made available to the public. I do look forward to trying the finished product though, issue free and more refined.
To finish off, battery life is stated at circa 4hrs for the earphones, 6hrs for the speakers and the speakers act as a power bank, charging the earphones as you go. The earphones include touch control for pausing content, changing track or volume, which again, was a little temperamental. It’s IP54, so splash proof and includes Bluetooth 5.
Earlybird deals on Kickstarter started at $79, which I think is a very fair price, once a couple of things are ironed out, for this all in speaker combo. That being said, I am keen to see what the retail price will be and hope they don’t price themselves out by having it too high. The idea of having the ability to have a single speaker for a ‘party’, dual speakers to improve on your iPad, laptop video watch experience and then when you’re on your own or on the move, you can use the earphones.
Head over to the Kickstarter page to find out more and to pledge, although they have already achieved their goal!